JAMES A. MINGO CONSISTORY NO. 334
James Alexander Mingo Consistory No. 334 was established June 11, 1979. Subsequently, the following Scottish Rite bodies were established in the city of Upper Marlboro: Henry U. Ayers Council No. 334; Knights Kadosh; Robert M. Julius Chapter No. 334; Knights Rose Croix and Alan A. Watty Lodge of Perfection No. 334. The Sovereign Grand Commander Jno G. Lewis, Jr. signed letters patent of perpetual Constitution to the following Brethren:
Herman E. White - Illustrious Commander-in-Chief
Willie M. Barnett - Illustrious 1st Lieutenant Commander
Walter J. Harvey - Illustrious 2nd Lieutenant Commander
Crosby N. Taylor - Illustrious Minister of State and Grand Orator
- Illustrious Grand Chancellor
Edwin L. Scott - Ill. Grand Secretary and Keeper of the Seal and Archives
Frederick L. Copeland - Illustrious Grand Treasurer
- Illustrious Prior
It was a gathering of eagles! We do not mean the emblems they wore, we mean the spirit of the individuals who descended on St. Mary's Hall, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in June 1979. They came looking into the future like eagles looking into the distance. And to paraphrase the Prophet Isaiah - they have mounted up with wings as eagles, that is to say, they have set their aims and standards high and moved them; they have run and not become weary, they have set a fast pace and maintained it, and they walk and do not faint, they are not made dizzy by flying so high and can meet their brothers on the level. So what follows is one not-so-bird's eye view of the last 14 years of this Consistory. A general meeting of a group of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret, owing allegiance to various Consistories of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, under the Southern and Northern Jurisdictions, Prince Hall Affiliation, was held in the St. Mary's Hall, located on Main Street, in Upper Marlboro. This historical assemblage was formed with the approval of Illustrious John H. Jones, Jr., then Deputy of the United Supreme Council for the orient of Maryland. The first order of business was to give a full explanation about the purpose of the meeting which was to satisfy the desires of several Sublime Princes who had expressed an interest in the possibility of forming a new Consistory to serve Southern Maryland. A statement was made that all of the Masonic Lodges in Southern Maryland had been notified of the meeting either verbally or by mail. "Charter Membership" was next on the agenda and was discussed at length. Everyone agreed that a fee of some amount would be necessary in order to defray the cost of the charters for the several bodies and some basic equipment. Finally, the sum of $50 was agreed upon and adopted. The chairman, with the group's concurrence, declared that applications for Charter Membership status would be carried over until the next meeting.
The next order of business was to choose a name for the proposed Consistory. Names suggested were: Frederick T. Hicks (deceased), Past Grand Secretary, Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland, and Dr. James A. Mingo, Secretary General, United Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction. After due process, the name of James A. Mingo was chosen. It is easy for eagles to soar if they have enough lift. We were blessed from the beginning by a lift from the two oldest Consistories in the Jurisdiction. First, Hiram No. 2, led by then Ill. Commander-in-Chief GIG George W. Evans, made it possible for several demits from Hiram to be processed in time for our June start. This is particularly noteworthy since it took over a year, a special messenger, and action by the Secretary General of the Holy Empire to get action on some of the demits. Also, members of Hiram came to the consecration of our Consistory: SGIG Jones came to sanction the event; PCIC Leroy S. Thornton to lead the meeting; GIG (Rev.) Clarence T. Boone to lead the prayers; and GIG's George W. Evans and Robert M. Julius to lend support and encouragement. The second lift came from the oldest Consistory - Jonathan Davis No. 1 of the Orient of the District of Columbia. We wanted to see the quintessential performance of the thirty-second degree, so we asked for and received that performance from GIG John D. Howard, Jr., a Past Grand Master of the District of Columbia, and GIG Hugh D. Kirksey. Twice more they returned and with teams to perform the same degree. In 1982, when we finally attempted to do the work ourselves, several members of Jonathan Davis, led by Ill. Aubrey Eugene Ballard, Deputy for the Orient of the District of Columbia, came to support, encourage and applaud our efforts.
Both Jonathan Davis and Hiram Consistories have continued their staunch support and fellowship throughout these 14 years and for that we are eternally grateful. With such support at our beginning, it natural for us to actively support the plans and programs of the United Supreme Council, the Deputy for Maryland, and the Council of Deliberation of Maryland. Our participation there has led to several of our members being elected as officers of that Council.
In April 1983, we finally got the count and conditions right to form an Assembly of the Order of the Golden Circle. We accompanied 29 of our ladies to Salisbury, Maryland, where we were able to enjoy a visit with King David No. 284 while our ladies were made Loyal by the John H. Jones Jr. Assembly. We will always remember the gracious hospitality extended by both the King David Consistory and the John H. Jones Jr. Assembly. We'll also remember the five or six-hour return trip; the bus broke down, but never our support for the Thomas-Scott-Lyles Assembly No. 334. In the surrounding community, we have donated food baskets to needy families, donations to hospitals, and contributions to the children at Boys Village, Cheltenham, Maryland. But our premier community program is to support high school scholars. When we began in 1979, we made a provision for a scholarship fund. In 1983, we awarded our first grant-in-aid in the amount of $500. In 1985, we increased the amount to $1,000 and have made awards in that amount every year since. Of particular note are two very generous donations made to the fund by Dr. Mingo in memory of his late wife, Dora W. Mingo. Sister Mingo worked many years for the United Supreme Council at its District of Columbia office, and was a strong supporter of our grant-in-aid program. In 1985, in her honor, we renamed our program the "Dora W. Mingo Grant-in-Aid. Our grant-in-aid program is also founded by the proceeds of an annual event which we have variously called, "The Black and Gold Ball, 11 "A Black Tie and Crown Affair, or simply our "Annual Dinner and Ball." We have used the occasion to present the grant-in-aid recipient, our newly consecrated sublime princes, and sometimes gifts to selected individuals.
In connection with anything we might have accomplished over the years, we have deliberately omitted names of our members and have included few dates because very little, if any, of what we have done has been the product of any one person or any one year. All that we have done, all that we are, and all that we aspire to be is the result of a team effort over several years. Of course, we have had individuals step forward to provide leadership - some were elected, some appointed, some volunteered, some had high-sounding titles, and some just plain brothers. It would be unreasonable to try to name them all and unfair to omit one that's truly deserving of recognition.
Speaking of naming names, organizations take great pride in their names. So do we. Our name was chosen over the sincere and modest protest of its owner. And no doubt it would have been chosen with or without the prompting of GIG Charles A. Spikes. For our namesake is one of the longest tenured officers in Scottish Rite Masonry. He is a dedicated servant of the Rite, one who personifies the correct spirit of friendship, brotherly love, relief and truth. But he is never too busy to lend an ear or extend a helping hand. If he is not at our meetings, he is ailing or traveling. He gives us aid, insight, love and understanding; he has adopted us - we have adopted him. It is then with infinite love and respect that we sometimes refer to him as "our father." And we have heard the love and pride in his voice when he refers to us as "his boys." When we chose his name, he said he hoped that he might live up to the honor. It is our prayer that we, the members of this Consistory, measure up to the life of DR. JAMES ALEXANDER MINGO.